martes, 18 de marzo de 2014

Moby Dick-Herman Melville (5/50)

Herman Melville was born in 1819. His father's bankrupcy did not allow him to have higher education. He sailed to Liverpool, once he was back he shipped before the mast on a whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean. He was in the Marquesas Islands among Typee tribe. A whaleship took him to Tahiti and another whaleship took him to Hawaii where he lived some months until he was taken home. 

Herman's work did not get enough or deserved popularity and interest while he lived. Actually, "Moby Dick" is considered one of the master pieces of American literature; however, Melville just earned around $556.37 after writing it. His personal life was dominated by tragedy: His son Malcom suicided; Stanix, another son, died alone in a hotel room and his marriage became colder while time passed. It was not until Melville's revival thanks "Billy Budd" publication (30 years after)  that his artwork was taken seriosly by people.

"Moby-Dick" is a story about sea, whales and existential questions. Narrated by Ishmael who may barely explain his reasons to join a whaling trip, the reader travels around the world looking for an albino sperm whale, meeting with the whaling hunt sector and with an ocean that is always making questions about human and universe.

Pequod is the name of the ship in which the story developes. In charge there is a Capitain who fought against Moby-Dick, a white sperm whale that took away Captain's leg. He is dominated by anger, full of desires of revenge and surrounded by a special personality that may lead population to dogmatism. He is obssessed about killing the white whale, actually during the trips he asks straightforward about any trace that may conduce him to hunt him. He is not interested about anything else.

While the story advances there is a link between human history and whaling singularities. In the space between these elemts the question about destiny and human's nature emerge. Whales are an ominipresent element in the descriptions given by the narrator. They are compared with Procopius the Sea-Monster described in the Roman Empire. Ambergris, a substance that is extracted from sick whales was used to obtain fine fragances for elegant ladies and lords. 

Natucket is a place of great importance. It was the first place where the Sperm Whale was harpooned with civilized steel. It is also the home of Ahab (the Pequod's Captain) and the origin of traditions that may increase the tragedy in the book.

Diversity is one of the main elements in the book. Tripulation is full of different nationalities. Trips describe environments, cultures and societies outside North America. Japan's sky, Equator animals, Spanish girls and Islanders fulfills the book with a special color and just one name: the Pequod. Quequee is an islander who shares a deep relationship with the narrator of the book. He is a cannibal who has his own deities. However, there is no reason to reject someone even if he is a cannibal, afterall the book is about the human nature. 

Another common element in the book are the features of environment as a prelude for tragedy. The Japanese sky is a prelude for storm, the Equator birds a sign of the presence of Moby Dick and the sharks always as a frightening sing of hurt Sperm Whales. 

During the trip, Pequod must face storms, accidents, discussions; however, Moby-Dick's finding is a revelation for personalities (like Ahab's), for destinies (like Ishmael's) and the story itself. This novel is a reflection about diversity, Humanity, destiny and freedom.

"... Death seems the only desirable sequel for a career like this;
but Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried;
it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the inmense Remote,

the Wild,

the Watery,

the Unshored..."

"the hearts of infinite Pacific..."

1 comentario:

aristos dijo...

I read the novel being myself your age. Thanks for reminding me of it, I had almost forgotten all about it but it left me a footprint. I think nobody can remain the same after reading it.
PS: I am coeliquore :-)